Canada C3: A harrowing Zodiac ride while on assignment for our first story
Published Tuesday, August 15, 2017 10:19AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 15, 2017 10:23AM EDT
Some days, making television is like making a sandwich: you know the ingredients you need, and you put them together.
Other days, it feels like you're cooking a 4-course meal, you were caught in a storm back from the grocery store, and now the rice is burning and your guests are due to arrive in 5 minutes. That was our day yesterday. In other words, a total and complete adventure.
We woke up to pouring rain and grey skies -- not something that bothered me, since tolerance to rain is almost in my DNA: I grew up in Port Moody, a suburb of Vancouver, where it can get soggy.
But it's an issue when you're trying to tell a story about a new conservation area. Outside. And you can't see anything. And you're worried the camera will get drenched.
Whatever footage we did capture had to be sent back online -- in this case, to Ottawa, where the story was being edited. But because of slow connection speeds, a few minutes' worth of visuals took several hours.
So we tried Plan B for our next batch of footage.
We took a Zodiac back to our C3 ship. Our amazing crew repositioned the entire vessel to get more satellite signal. Again, no go to speed things up. The third option was to use bandwidth from another ship to increase our own. But even this attempt didn't make a difference.
As the files continued transferring, we headed back to another ship to do a W5 interview. Got there, shot it, and then stepped foot into what will be my most memorable Zodiac ride to return to our ship.
It will be my most memorable -- and terrifying -- Zodiac ride. Ever.
It was 10 p.m. Still light outside because it's so far North. And the winds were really picking up -- but not enough to cancel the journey.
We stepped foot inside and took off on the open water. It was a bumpy ride, but manageable. Then, the waves got bigger. We started bouncing around a bit more. But we hung on. It was only a 20-minute ride but at this point I remember thinking: "Our ship is really far away."
At around that same time, we were slapped with what seemed like a huge wall of water. W5 producer Allya Davidson and I were flung from the edge of our Zodiac to the centre -- tossed, really, by this force of nature -- forced to crouch to protect ourselves from the waves.
Cameraman Kirk Neff was fiercely protecting the camera and the interview we just shot, but even he was struggling. I was clutching rope. We were still 10 minutes away.
They felt like successive involuntary polar bear dips, with the high winds intensifying the chill of the water.
But through it all, we kept laughing, and the site of our ship getting bigger -- closer -- kept us going.
And -- in the end -- we made it back, safe in our bunks, having experienced an incredible adventure.